In a bizarre act of insubordination, Chris Sale has been suspended for five days following a uniform dispute with the Chicago White Sox. Sale, unhappy that the team had to wear collared throwbacks from 1976, cut the uniforms with a knife so they could not be worn. His suspension began Saturday and runs through Wednesday.
“This was a whole different message that he was sending to the organization, and obviously it wasn’t very well thought out,” former general manager Jim Duquette said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “They can be hot, there’s no doubt. It’s so interesting to me because it’s an absolute form of insubordination if you look at if from a front-office perspective, but I had the same reaction as you guys. I was laughing to myself mostly because I was glad I didn’t have to deal with that stuff anymore.”
The White Sox (48-50), who began the year 23-10, have since gone 25-40 and trail the Indians (56-41) by 8.5 games in the AL Central. Sale, with a 14-3 record, 3.18 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 133.0 innings, remains a consistent bright spot for the team and could be traded before the July 31 deadline.
Duquette does not think this incident will impact Sale’s trade value.
“No, it really wouldn’t,” Duquette said. “The talent is too good. If this was a borderline player or a marginal player, yeah, I think I’d probably back off. But this guy, he’s a tremendous pitcher. I’ve interviewed him a couple different times. He’s very engaging and well-spoken, but he has a little edge to him like a lot of these good pitchers do. So you know that coming in.”
Sale, 27, has been outspoken throughout his career.
“Way back when he was a rookie, he had a confrontation with his GM about whether he was going to be a relief pitcher or a starter,” Duquette said. “They didn’t think he could stay healthy and he demanded to go in the rotation. That’s always a positive. He had an issue this year with the whole Adam LaRoche having his son in the clubhouse for the whole year. He was really ticked off and outspoken about the club doing what they did. So he’s had an opinion on a couple different things – and not always even close to agreeing with the front office on a couple different occasions.”
In other news, the Yankees and Cubs are reportedly close to finalizing a deal that would send closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago in exchange for 19-year-old shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, among others. Torres is the top prospect in Chicago’s organization.
“I think the Yankees absolutely are doing the right thing here,” Duquette said. “This kid that they’re getting back supposedly, Gleyber Torres, is a terrific, terrific talent. He’s a can’t-miss prospect. So from the Yankees’ side, it makes total sense, and I don’t know if they’re going to be totally weakened because they still have (Andrew) Miller and (Dellin) Betances. So I like it for the Yankees. For the Cubs, their closer, (Hector) Rondon, he’s been up and down and a little bit inconsistent. Now you throw (in) Chapman, who I think is the dominant closer out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs make another move, maybe find themselves a left-fielder to help with the offense. But this is going to be one of the teams we talk about as one of the best in baseball and one of the frontrunners to be in the World Series at the end of the year.”